How do I know if I am at risk of losing a baby?

There are no hard and fast rules about who is at risk of losing a baby while pregnant. Healthy mothers have lost babies even when their regular maternity check-ups are normal, and others have experienced worrying symptoms.

Age, health and lifestyle can increase or lower risk of pregnancy loss and steps can be taken to minimise the risk. Discuss any concerns that you have with your healthcare provider. You don't always have to wait until your next medical check-up to raise any questions that you have.

Contributing factors to losing a baby

As previously mentioned, age, lifestyle, and health are factors that can contribute to pregnancy loss.


As a woman's age increases, risk to miscarriage also rises because the egg or ovary quality decreases with age. Research shows that from age thirty, the risk to miscarriage is one in five and rises to one in two from age forty two onwards. Pregnancy over the age of thirty raises concern of chromosomal abnormality. The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) medical centre suggests that mothers over the age of thirty six should be closely monitored particularly during their first trimester of pregnancy.


NHS Choices offers information to expecting mothers on lifestyle choices while pregnant for the health of both the mother and foetus. Smoking, excessive drinking, and taking recreational drugs can increase the likelihood of pregnancy loss through miscarriage or depending on the drug, deformity. Caffeine intake amounting to two mugs of coffee per day should also not be exceeded.

Besides diet and social activities, women who work also need to make decisions about health and safety, maternity leave, and the impact of their work on their own health and that of their developing foetus. While healthcare professionals can provide advice about what types of work should not be done and when is best to stop working, the company occupational health departments may also be able to provide advice.

Other concerns about risk may relate to sex and also stress. The NHS reports that gentle sex during pregnancy and stress are not specifically linked to pregnancy loss. Mild exercises are recommended during pregnancy to maintain health, but strenuous sports should be avoided.


Obesity and excessive weight gain, or being underweight, can put a pregnancy at risk. Usually, medical professionals assessing pregnancies do advise expecting mothers of their weight and recommend balanced nutrition through healthy diet. It is important not to be under or over weight. Also being conscious of physical infections, including sexually transmitted infections or diseases, and seeking treatment where necessary is vital to maintaining good health during expectancy.

Health conditions like thyroid, diabetes, epilepsy, asthma, heart conditions and anaemia may be a threat to both the expecting mother and foetus, and require management. Treatment can be provided to a mother who has a hereditary condition, such as Hughes syndrome, that is closely linked to miscarriage.

Irregularities in the uterus can also affect the pregnancy and should be identified during ultrasound scans. Different health conditions may cause separate types of pregnancy loss. The following links contain information about different types of pregnancy loss and how they may occur.

Losing a Baby:

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